UKIP released their manifesto this morning – here, we use the Political Futures Tracker to provide a bite sized summary of top themes. We tell you what sentiment UKIP are expressing about these themes and how future thinking they are about most mentioned big issues.
1) review all legislation and regulations from the EU (3,600 new laws since 2010) and remove those which hamper British prosperity and competitiveness.
2) negotiate a bespoke trade agreement with the EU to enable our businesses to continue trading to mutual advantage.
3) not seek to remain in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA) while those treaties maintain a principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.
4) reoccupy the UK’s vacant seat at the World Trade Organisation, ensuring that we continue to enjoy ‘most favoured nation’ status in trade with the EU, as is required under WTO rules.
Manifesto documents have tended to focus on the education system as a policy framework for securing the economic future of the UK, often addressing this in a positive and future thinking way. This is the case with UKIP, where the likes of Schools, Student and Education are frequently mentioned in the top 20 sub themes.
Defence and armed forces is mentioned is a net positive way in the manifesto, which ties into UKIP's emphasis on provision for veterans and former members of the UK armed forces.
A shake up of the state is noted in UKIP's manifesto, where they pledge to abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and scrap green subsidies and abolish the Department for Culture Media and Sport. The emphasis on Regulation and reform in the document is shown in both the top themes, and sentiment associated - which is highly negative - most likely owing to critique of existing Westminster structures and policies.
We see Europe and Immigration featuring prominently in UKIP's top sentiment associated themes. Both positive and negative sentiment are expressed, which echoes the discourse around these big election issues on Twitter.
Immigration, for instance, did not feature in Labour's top 20 themes whatsoever, and aligned with findings here, YouGov find that Public Health has overtaken immigration as an electoral priority for voters. UKIP offer a series of immigration policy reform pledges, whilst stating that the party recognises the benefits of limited, controlled immigration. These include:
1) leaving the EU, and taking back control of our borders. Work permits will be permitted to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market.
2) extending to EU citizens the existing points-based system for time-limited work permits. Those coming to work in the UK must have a job to go to, must speak English, must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival, and must have NHS-approved health insurance.
3) Migrants will only be eligible for benefits (in work or out of work) when they have been paying tax and NI for five years and will only be eligible for permanent residence after ten years.
In some cases, like Crime and policing, it far outweighs positive sentiment. This supports the identification of critique based reference to existing policy and structures, and reinforces the position of many parties whose popularity has burgeoned in recent years - of challenging the political orthodoxy of Westminster.
When referring to the UK Economy, and in particular - Debt, UKIP use the emotive expression 'Reducing debts we leave to our grandchildren'. This example of long term future thinking is shown in the graph below. Politically, UKIP pledge to leave the EU and save at least £8bn pa in net contributions and cut the foreign aid budget by £9bn pa, prioritising disaster relief and schemes which provide water and inoculation against preventable diseases.
Alongside this, a strong view is taken on infrastructure investments in transport, such as HS2, that UKIP state is uneconomical and unjustified - the manifesto outlines that the party would scrap this scheme.
We will be conducting analysis on the manifestos of all major UK political parties running up to the election, stay tuned to the Political Futures Tracker for the latest on key political analysis.